ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Economics, Business and Finance
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags natural disasters , price gouging

Reply
Old 30th August 2017, 04:12 PM   #1
portlandatheist
Master Poster
 
portlandatheist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,879
Price gouging during a disaster

There is an article at Quartz, The Economic Case for Price Gouging

Under normal conditions, price fixing can have really bad outcomes (price fixing is one piece of the puzzle of what has gone horribly wrong in Venezuela) but in times of emergency, it seems like it would be cruel to price gouge.
The argument made in this article is that price gouging would actually be a greater good because:
1. Less things would run out, for example, people would only buy the water or gas they need instead of filling the tank
2. Store owners would more likely stock up on things needed in an emergency and so would consumers
3. People would have more incentive to get things to disaster areas

To counter balance this, I would say that outlandish or cruel price gouging could also backfire on the owners. We've had two huge stories concerning price gouging in recent news: the epipen price gouging story and the Martin Shkreli (Pharma bro) story. Price gouging of pharmaceuticals where there is a monopoly or a near monopoly I would say is a time that some sort of price controls need to be in place.

Are our existing anti gouging laws during a disaster a good idea? Maybe there is a middle ground, allowing prices to increase but limiting to 100% increase or some other limit.
Quote:
Price controls “lead to misallocation of resources, long lines, and black markets,” said Jonathan Meer, an associate professor of economics at Texas A&M University. “These policies can cause serious distortions but governments use them quite a bit anyway. People don’t like high prices of course, and unfortunately price controls seem like easy solutions to difficult problems.”
There are quite a few other articles floating about making similar arguments

http://reason.com/archives/2017/08/3...crises-like-hu
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/5...price-gouging/
http://www.slate.com/articles/busine...ers_worse.html
portlandatheist is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th August 2017, 04:28 PM   #2
caveman1917
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 5,908
What was it, 50$ for a bit of water and such? Gotta love that free market pricing.
__________________
"Ideas are also weapons." - Subcomandante Marcos
"We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live." - Lucy Parsons
"Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!" - Mikhail Bakunin
caveman1917 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th August 2017, 04:43 PM   #3
Beerina
Sarcastic Conqueror of Notions
 
Beerina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 29,264
And the counter argument is, of course, $50 water or bags of ice is better than nothing, which is the actually-gonna-happen alternative.

When Katrina roared through, they made it illegal for people to load up trucks with bags of ice and come down and sell them for $10 or $20 a bag.

"But then they'll have no ice at all!"

"We're government, we'll have a solution!"

So they put out bids, and months later, a train of refrigerator cars pulled up loaded with ice. Nobody needed it anymore, and a year later (!!!) it was declared unfit for human consumption.
__________________
"Great innovations should not be forced [by way of] slender majorities." - Thomas Jefferson

The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?

Last edited by Beerina; 30th August 2017 at 04:44 PM.
Beerina is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th August 2017, 05:07 PM   #4
Ranb
Philosopher
 
Ranb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: WA USA
Posts: 9,291
Better to ration the products instead of making them harder for poor people to buy what they need.

Ranb
Ranb is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th August 2017, 05:41 PM   #5
Brainster
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brainster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 15,762
Price "gouging" is the market finding its own equilibrium in the face of some extraordinary circumstances. About 12 years ago, Phoenix had a temporary gas shortage due to a refinery fire, so it was very hard to get gas. Unfortunately it happened just as I was running low, and the irony was that I couldn't risk waiting in line with the idiots just topping off because either my car or the station could run out of gas. A few station owners raised their prices to about $5 (IIRC around $2.00 was the standard rate), a price that I would have been willing to pay (and would have discouraged the topping-off crowd). But brave AZ Attorney General Terry Goddard issued a stern warning, so I didn't get to drive for a couple of weeks until deliveries got back to normal.

I know it seems terribly unfair that somebody should make an unusually good profit. But this is another good example of how the market (even with its unfairness) does a better job of allocating scarce resources.
__________________
My new blog: Recent Reads.
1960s Comic Book Nostalgia
Visit the Screw Loose Change blog.
Brainster is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th August 2017, 06:18 PM   #6
Puppycow
Penultimate Amazing
 
Puppycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,816
I totally understand the economic rationale. It is perfectly logical.

Nevertheless, people aren't going to like it. If you are literally dying of thirst and I offer to sell you a liter of water for $1000, you may buy it if you have no other choice, but you won't be grateful. And if I ever need help in turn, I can't expect any kind of motive other than pure self interest.

Originally Posted by Ranb View Post
Better to ration the products instead of making them harder for poor people to buy what they need.

Ranb
Good idea. Supermarkets could limit purchases to one or two items to prevent hoarding.

Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
And the counter argument is, of course, $50 water or bags of ice is better than nothing, which is the actually-gonna-happen alternative.

When Katrina roared through, they made it illegal for people to load up trucks with bags of ice and come down and sell them for $10 or $20 a bag.

"But then they'll have no ice at all!"

"We're government, we'll have a solution!"

So they put out bids, and months later, a train of refrigerator cars pulled up loaded with ice. Nobody needed it anymore, and a year later (!!!) it was declared unfit for human consumption.
A better way is to appeal to people's sense of charity. Laud them as "heros". Give people awards and public recognition. In Harvey, you had people with boats voluntarily going around rescuing people. They weren't trying to make a buck (at least, not that I'm aware of). I suppose they could have charged people for rescuing them, but for some reason they liked the idea of being a hero more than the idea of making a quick buck.
__________________
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
Puppycow is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 30th August 2017, 10:52 PM   #7
Travis
Misanthrope of the Mountains
 
Travis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 23,565
When a disaster hits only the rich with thousands in cash on hand should survive?

Seems pretty harsh.
__________________
"Because WE ARE IGNORANT OF 911 FACTS, WE DEMAND PROOF" -- Douglas Herman on Rense.com
Travis is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 12:31 AM   #8
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 29,651
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
When a disaster hits only the rich with thousands in cash on hand should survive?
The rich? You think they're the ones out there schlepping bags of ice and bottles of water? No, Travis. That's the middle class.
theprestige is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 12:51 AM   #9
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 83,439
Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Price "gouging" is the market finding its own equilibrium in the face of some extraordinary circumstances. About 12 years ago, Phoenix had a temporary gas shortage due to a refinery fire, so it was very hard to get gas. Unfortunately it happened just as I was running low, and the irony was that I couldn't risk waiting in line with the idiots just topping off because either my car or the station could run out of gas. A few station owners raised their prices to about $5 (IIRC around $2.00 was the standard rate), a price that I would have been willing to pay (and would have discouraged the topping-off crowd). But brave AZ Attorney General Terry Goddard issued a stern warning, so I didn't get to drive for a couple of weeks until deliveries got back to normal.

I know it seems terribly unfair that somebody should make an unusually good profit. But this is another good example of how the market (even with its unfairness) does a better job of allocating scarce resources.
Why didn't you go to one of the filling stations that charged $5?
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 12:53 AM   #10
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 29,651
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why didn't you go to one of the filling stations that charged $5?
I don't get it. Are you trying some sort of Socratic method?
theprestige is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 06:02 AM   #11
caveman1917
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 5,908
Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
And the counter argument is, of course, $50 water or bags of ice is better than nothing, which is the actually-gonna-happen alternative.

When Katrina roared through, they made it illegal for people to load up trucks with bags of ice and come down and sell them for $10 or $20 a bag.

"But then they'll have no ice at all!"

"We're government, we'll have a solution!"

So they put out bids, and months later, a train of refrigerator cars pulled up loaded with ice. Nobody needed it anymore, and a year later (!!!) it was declared unfit for human consumption.
If only there was a more direct way for the government to get needed supplies to areas in need, other than putting out bids on the "free market". Don't worry though, Mexico has figured it out:

Americans...
__________________
"Ideas are also weapons." - Subcomandante Marcos
"We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live." - Lucy Parsons
"Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!" - Mikhail Bakunin
caveman1917 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 08:42 AM   #12
caveman1917
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 5,908
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
When a disaster hits only the rich with thousands in cash on hand should survive?

Seems pretty harsh.
It's not harsh, it's normal - as in "it's the norm". This is how the system works, all that the disaster does is make it more visible in some spectacular mediatized context.
__________________
"Ideas are also weapons." - Subcomandante Marcos
"We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live." - Lucy Parsons
"Let us therefore trust the eternal Spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unfathomable and eternal source of all life. The passion for destruction is a creative passion, too!" - Mikhail Bakunin
caveman1917 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 09:37 AM   #13
Shalamar
Dark Lord of the JREF
 
Shalamar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4,335
The free market absolutely. That's why when you get into a life threatening accident, and need immediate hospital or emergency care, the doctors and hospital can charge whatever they want. Sucks to be you if you can't afford it.

It's just like video games!
__________________

"The truth is out there. But the lies are inside your head."
Shalamar is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 01:20 PM   #14
portlandatheist
Master Poster
 
portlandatheist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,879
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
When a disaster hits only the rich with thousands in cash on hand should survive?

Seems pretty harsh.
Price fixing laws that have the intention of helping the poor and vulnerable are counter productive, or so the argument goes. Consider Venezuela: What is wrong with passing laws to guarantee that food staples and toilet paper are affordable and accessible to the poor? And now look at the results of such policies. The economic reality Venezuela has created for itself is a situation where it requires massive amounts more labor to extract a barrel of oil out of the ground, it requires massive amounts more labor to produce food. It isn't just a waste of peoples time, it is a waste of natural resources as it requires more land to create the same amount of food. If you measure compensation for labor in terms of food instead of money, the new system has screwed the poor.

The argument is that price gouging will protect the most vulnerable instead of hurting them: consumers are more likely to think ahead and stock up, shop owners are more likely to stock up and stay open. It is a signal to government and other aid efforts of where people are the most desperate of aid so this isn't a system to replace government and other forms of help.

Also, gouging could and will take a toll on a companie's reputation, especially big companies and much less so, mom and pop operations. If they gouge, it will be bad for their public relations and ultimately, their bottom line. If they don't gouge while others do gouge, that is also good publicity so the marketplace is a complex thing.
portlandatheist is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 02:09 PM   #15
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 83,439
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I don't get it. Are you trying some sort of Socratic method?
Do you know the answer?
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 07:25 PM   #16
TragicMonkey
Poisoned Waffles
 
TragicMonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Monkey
Posts: 46,034
Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I totally understand the economic rationale. It is perfectly logical.

Nevertheless, people aren't going to like it. If you are literally dying of thirst and I offer to sell you a liter of water for $1000, you may buy it if you have no other choice
Oh, there's another choice. If I'm literally dying, and don't have the money to meet your ridiculous demand, then certainly one of us will die. Pieces of paper representing theoretical value of labor are a good idea as a medium of exchange, but when it comes down to survival people may get a tad practical. And who can blame them?
__________________
One cannot expect wisdom to flow from a pumpkin.
TragicMonkey is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 08:03 PM   #17
Fudbucker
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 8,537
The ends do not always justify the means. Price gouging might lead to some efficiencies, but at a very high cost: erosion of public trust, enmity towards those who gouged, etc. That, and it's just wrong to try and take advantage of someone during a disaster.
Fudbucker is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 08:13 PM   #18
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 29,651
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Do you know the answer?
Yes.
theprestige is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 10:45 PM   #19
marplots
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 29,167
Fair warning.
If you price gouge me I am likely to regular gouge you - maybe with a knife.
marplots is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 31st August 2017, 11:51 PM   #20
Brainster
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brainster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 15,762
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Why didn't you go to one of the filling stations that charged $5?
Only heard about them from the news reports of Goddard's Cease & Desist letter.
__________________
My new blog: Recent Reads.
1960s Comic Book Nostalgia
Visit the Screw Loose Change blog.
Brainster is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st September 2017, 12:03 AM   #21
Brainster
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brainster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 15,762
Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I totally understand the economic rationale. It is perfectly logical.

Nevertheless, people aren't going to like it. If you are literally dying of thirst and I offer to sell you a liter of water for $1000, you may buy it if you have no other choice, but you won't be grateful. And if I ever need help in turn, I can't expect any kind of motive other than pure self interest.
Now suppose you are not literally dying of thirst, but you are thirsty, so thirsty that you'd be willing to pay $10 for a bottle. That sends a strong signal to the market that there's a profit to be made bringing bottles of water to your area, as nobody would pay $10 a bottle for water in normal circumstances. So a whole bunch of people bring bottled water to your area and start selling it for $10 a bottle, then $9.00, then $7.00, etc. Eventually whatever caused the shortage runs out, and the excess profit disappears.
__________________
My new blog: Recent Reads.
1960s Comic Book Nostalgia
Visit the Screw Loose Change blog.
Brainster is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st September 2017, 01:44 AM   #22
The Don
Penultimate Amazing
 
The Don's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Sir Fynwy
Posts: 25,269
Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Now suppose you are not literally dying of thirst, but you are thirsty, so thirsty that you'd be willing to pay $10 for a bottle. That sends a strong signal to the market that there's a profit to be made bringing bottles of water to your area, as nobody would pay $10 a bottle for water in normal circumstances. So a whole bunch of people bring bottled water to your area and start selling it for $10 a bottle, then $9.00, then $7.00, etc. Eventually whatever caused the shortage runs out, and the excess profit disappears.
That works as long as the shortage item is a "nice to have" rather than a "must have", that supply is elastic and that there aren't significant negative consequences of that elastic supply (e.g. the roads clogging up with people rushing to meet demand, blocking emergency services and/or people putting themselves in danger in order to meet that demand).

Where the items are "must have" and supply is permanently restricted then there seems to be a tendency among humans to hoard or stockpile shortage items if they can afford to do it and the items are not perishable exacerbating the shortage. That's why, in the face of food shortages during WWI and WWII, the UK government cracked down harshly on hoarders and the black market, implemented rationing and as a result were reasonably successful at delivering sufficient food to the nation as a whole despite shortages.
The Don is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 1st September 2017, 02:19 AM   #23
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 83,439
Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Only heard about them from the news reports of Goddard's Cease & Desist letter.
Hmm....
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd September 2017, 05:48 AM   #24
BobTheCoward
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 14,184
Originally Posted by The Don View Post
That works as long as the shortage item is a "nice to have" rather than a "must have", that supply is elastic and that there aren't significant negative consequences of that elastic supply (e.g. the roads clogging up with people rushing to meet demand, blocking emergency services and/or people putting themselves in danger in order to meet that demand).

Where the items are "must have" and supply is permanently restricted then there seems to be a tendency among humans to hoard or stockpile shortage items if they can afford to do it and the items are not perishable exacerbating the shortage. That's why, in the face of food shortages during WWI and WWII, the UK government cracked down harshly on hoarders and the black market, implemented rationing and as a result were reasonably successful at delivering sufficient food to the nation as a whole despite shortages.
But no one can afford to do it if prices rise.

The problem with not price gouging it is poor people getting it. Here is the scenario

There is one gallon of gas and one gallon of water. In absence of price gouging, each is priced at 4 dollars. With gouging it is 20 dollars.

Person A would pay 20 dollars for gas and 10 dollars for water.

Person B would pay 20 dollars for water and 10 dollars for water.

If there is price gouging, A gets the gallon of gas and B gets the water.

Without gouging, the person in line first gets both.


Not to mention rising prices is probably the fastest way to end a lack of supply.

Last edited by BobTheCoward; 3rd September 2017 at 05:49 AM.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd September 2017, 06:14 AM   #25
Myriad
Hyperthetical
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: A pocket paradise between the sewage treatment plant and the railroad
Posts: 14,053
Undersupply and hoarding are two separate problems. Even though each contributes to the other, preventing either one doesn't necessarily prevent the other. Panic hoarding can cause shortages even if the actual total regional supply remains at normal levels, and true shortages are shortages even if no one hoards.

To address regional shortages while not allowing price increases, what regional governments should do is pay import bounties. (Technology such as e.g. requiring and tracking individual serial numbers on cartons could curtail the most obvious cheats.) Oddly, they never think of doing this, even though the inverse, slapping sales taxes on things they want less of, is second nature to them.
__________________
A zømbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 5th September 2017, 12:03 AM   #26
Brainster
Penultimate Amazing
 
Brainster's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 15,762
Originally Posted by The Don View Post
That works as long as the shortage item is a "nice to have" rather than a "must have", that supply is elastic and that there aren't significant negative consequences of that elastic supply (e.g. the roads clogging up with people rushing to meet demand, blocking emergency services and/or people putting themselves in danger in order to meet that demand).

Where the items are "must have" and supply is permanently restricted then there seems to be a tendency among humans to hoard or stockpile shortage items if they can afford to do it and the items are not perishable exacerbating the shortage. That's why, in the face of food shortages during WWI and WWII, the UK government cracked down harshly on hoarders and the black market, implemented rationing and as a result were reasonably successful at delivering sufficient food to the nation as a whole despite shortages.
Obviously wartime is a different story. There the shortage is not merely local (as in most disasters) but national. But in general, the existence of a black market is a pretty good sign that prices are being kept in check artificially (i.e., by government order), and that rationing is already occurring.
__________________
My new blog: Recent Reads.
1960s Comic Book Nostalgia
Visit the Screw Loose Change blog.
Brainster is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th September 2017, 02:33 PM   #27
Francesca R
Girl
 
Francesca R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London EC1
Posts: 17,890
Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
The ends do not always justify the means. Price gouging might lead to some efficiencies, but at a very high cost: erosion of public trust, enmity towards those who gouged, etc. That, and it's just wrong to try and take advantage of someone during a disaster.
This ethical offence is behind various laws that threaten prosecution in the aftermath of discovery of price gouging.

However it logically implies that it would be ethically superior to sit on one's hands and let those suffering from disaster go whistle (because then you are not taking advantage of them).

Not sure that is right though.
Francesca R is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th September 2017, 05:25 PM   #28
portlandatheist
Master Poster
 
portlandatheist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,879
http://www.travelandleisure.com/airl...irma-price-cap

Jet Blue is helping people escape the hurricane with $99 price caps. Natural disasters are opportunities for corporations with resources to help people in need.
portlandatheist is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 7th September 2017, 05:37 PM   #29
cullennz
Embarrasingly illiterate
 
cullennz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 13,902
Just my opinion, but in an ideal world in disasters, when it comes to the necessities, you would have no price gouging and limits per customer (as much as can be controlled).

eg. Water - Same Price - Each person can only buy 4 etc

Ie. Every one can still buy it and no one can buy more than any others and over stockpile, (Or worse. On sell for more).

Quite funny, but it's kind of like the way they try to sell concert tickets here
__________________
I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.

Source: The America We Deserve, by Donald Trump, p.102 , Jul 2, 2000
cullennz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 02:19 AM   #30
JJM 777
Illuminator
 
JJM 777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,060
Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
When Katrina roared through, they made it illegal for people to load up trucks with bags of ice and come down and sell them for $10 or $20 a bag.

"But then they'll have no ice at all!"

"We're government, we'll have a solution!"
The best solution is: The government brings their solution to the scene, without prohibiting citizens from bringing their freely priced offers. If the government actually does something useful in a useful time frame, then the competitively priced offer from government services will keep free pricing at bay. If not, then the government is useless but the freely priced services not.
JJM 777 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 04:08 AM   #31
Francesca R
Girl
 
Francesca R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London EC1
Posts: 17,890
Nice though it is to know what the ideal solution is, which is to be preferred out of (a) some free agent selling stuff at exorbitant price and (b) the same free agent not lifting a finger?

Just pick a or b
Francesca R is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 05:33 AM   #32
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 83,439
Originally Posted by Francesca R View Post
Nice though it is to know what the ideal solution is, which is to be preferred out of (a) some free agent selling stuff at exorbitant price and (b) the same free agent not lifting a finger?

Just pick a or b
Not sure why it had to be a or b why not c?
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 06:21 AM   #33
Meadmaker
Penultimate Amazing
 
Meadmaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 18,308
Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
So they put out bids, and months later, a train of refrigerator cars pulled up loaded with ice. Nobody needed it anymore, and a year later (!!!) it was declared unfit for human consumption.
I hadn't heard about that.

I wish you were making it up.
Meadmaker is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 07:16 AM   #34
bruto
Penultimate Amazing
 
bruto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Way way north of Diddy Wah Diddy
Posts: 23,029
During one of the previous hurricanes, when gas prices everywhere spiked enormously, nearly doubling even in Vermont, one of our local convenience stores, not dependent on a central price-fixing owner, kept its price constant on the gas they had already bought. Needless to say, they sold every drop rather quickly, and of course they had to charge the higher price on the next batch when they bought it. Did they suffer from not price gouging? Perhaps a little, but they sold out their gas very quickly, and made as much profit as they usually did on it, and probably made a bit more on convenience store sales, and long term good will.

Maybe price gouging works better in a big market where everything gets sold anyway and memories are short. But I suspect that not gouging can have its benefits at times.
__________________
I love this world, but not for its answers. (Mary Oliver)

Quand il dit "cuic" le moineau croit tout dire. (When he's tweeted the sparrow thinks he's said it all. (Jules Renard)
bruto is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 01:56 PM   #35
Francesca R
Girl
 
Francesca R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: London EC1
Posts: 17,890
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Not sure why it had to be a or b why not c?
You do not need c to tell us which of a or b is better.

You did not answer the question of course.
Francesca R is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 02:08 PM   #36
psionl0
Skeptical about skeptics
 
psionl0's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 31°57'S 115°57'E
Posts: 13,166
Originally Posted by bruto View Post
During one of the previous hurricanes, when gas prices everywhere spiked enormously, nearly doubling even in Vermont, one of our local convenience stores, not dependent on a central price-fixing owner, kept its price constant on the gas they had already bought. Needless to say, they sold every drop rather quickly, and of course they had to charge the higher price on the next batch when they bought it. Did they suffer from not price gouging? Perhaps a little, but they sold out their gas very quickly, and made as much profit as they usually did on it, and probably made a bit more on convenience store sales, and long term good will.
Where there is a shortage of a commodity like petrol the retailer usually has less to sell and could end up making a loss because of the shortfall.

Under those circumstances, it is not unreasonable for the retailer to temporarily bump up their price in order to remain afloat.
__________________
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. Where something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent." - Galbraith, 1975
psionl0 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 03:22 PM   #37
welshdean
6 NATIONS 2016
-MORAL VICTORS-
 
welshdean's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 3,066
Why is price gouging fair but looting not. Both are taking advantage of the situation to the detriment of individuals.
Please don't confuse free market economics with outright greed. The free market shouldn't need to crap on humanity.
__________________
"In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion."
Carl Sagan 1934 - 1996 RIP
welshdean is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 05:45 PM   #38
BobTheCoward
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 14,184
Originally Posted by welshdean View Post
Why is price gouging fair but looting not. Both are taking advantage of the situation to the detriment of individuals.
Please don't confuse free market economics with outright greed. The free market shouldn't need to crap on humanity.
I think the difference is one involves the agreement of both parties, and the latter does not.
BobTheCoward is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 06:30 PM   #39
bruto
Penultimate Amazing
 
bruto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Way way north of Diddy Wah Diddy
Posts: 23,029
Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Where there is a shortage of a commodity like petrol the retailer usually has less to sell and could end up making a loss because of the shortfall.

Under those circumstances, it is not unreasonable for the retailer to temporarily bump up their price in order to remain afloat.
Indeed, if the shortage is real and the price increase proportional, but I would be inclined to differentiate that from true price gouging.

In the case of gasoline, the dealer is likely to pay that increased price to the distributor, and thus, one presumes, to pass on that increased price when the tanks are refilled. To add a gratuitous increase to the price of fuel already bought is more questionable. Most of the gas stations we go to are run by distributors and the local operators are not free to set their own prices anyway, and the issue of who is doing what becomes rather muddy. They get a call and that's the price at the pump. I do, however, applaud the locally owned station I mentioned above, for not adding an arbitrary surcharge, and thus for a short time being, by a radical margin, the cheapest gas station in the region.
__________________
I love this world, but not for its answers. (Mary Oliver)

Quand il dit "cuic" le moineau croit tout dire. (When he's tweeted the sparrow thinks he's said it all. (Jules Renard)
bruto is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 8th September 2017, 07:08 PM   #40
Delphic Oracle
Master Poster
 
Delphic Oracle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 2,517
Originally Posted by welshdean View Post
Why is price gouging fair but looting not. Both are taking advantage of the situation to the detriment of individuals.
Please don't confuse free market economics with outright greed. The free market shouldn't need to crap on humanity.
Depends on the definition of looting. If it's big screen TVs, that's one thing. If it's food from unattended stores that no health department will allow for sale once the owners come back, that's human beings trying to survive.

It's a necessary distinction as I recall seeing rolling racks full of food from a Walmart being wheeled to the park where people had set up shelter being portrayed as looting after Katrina. It was basic hunter-gatherer organization, sending out teams of scouts to find food and larger teams of foragers once reports came in of where to get some.

Last edited by Delphic Oracle; 8th September 2017 at 07:10 PM.
Delphic Oracle is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Economics, Business and Finance

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:09 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.